I just wrapped up my webinar on “Using the BLM Site and the BLM Tract Books.” These federal land records can be a valuable source for genealogical information.
Not all individuals who received or obtained federal land were early settlers. There were states in the federal domain where federal land was being sold thirty years after statehood. Most of these cash land sales provide little more than receipts for amounts paid, but there are exceptions (especially when the purchaser dies before the amount is paid or if the cash sale is converted to another type of acquisition).
Not everyone mentioned in these federal land records actually acquired the federal land themselves or even settled on it. Many veterans (pre-US Civil War) obtained military land warrants which they sold or transferred to someone else. That someone else actually settled the property. The military veteran who obtained the warrant should appear in the BLM land patent index as warrant receivers are included.
A New Hampshire man who served in the War of 1812 and who never left the New Hampshire after the war may still appear in the BLM patent index site. And he may be listed under a warrant that was used to obtain property in Iowa.
Even though he never set foot within 500 miles of the Mississippi River.
The presentation on using the BLM land patent site and the BLM tract books can be ordered for immediate download here.